I’ve just watched Captain America: Winter Soldier, and as much as I love Black Widow, I can’t get over her hair.
As an active agent who is constantly fighting, Natasha should be dressing as such. She should be prepared for a fight, especially when she knows that she’ll be going on missions, but she never is. Regardless what hairstyle she’s been given over the three movies (and it does annoy me that she’s the only avenger who gets a makeover with every new movie), none of them are practical for combat.
This is something which can be applied to any of the female super-heroines: none of them would be ready for a real fight. As a black belt, I know what kind of things should be worn for fighting, so let’s go through some of the main aspects of super-heroine costumes:
When fighting, it’s important that your field of vision isn’t restricted, and this is something really noticeable when Black Widow fights, because she incorporates a lot of turns. So every time she turns her head, her hair completely covers her face. This is great for dramatic shots, but ridiculous for a fight.
A similar thing happens in the film Daredevil, Elektra keeps her hair tied up for training, but as soon as she goes out to fight, she lets it down. If you know that you train better with hair up, surely it makes sense that it should be tied up for real missions. Or are we just trying to look pretty for the bad guys?
The best example I can find of how they should be wearing their hair is SHIELD agent Maria Hill, both her cropped hair in the comics, and low bun in the films are perfectly suited to combat. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see her in combat often.
Characters like Captain America and Batman have costumes which are clearly adapted from various styles of armor and the material is designed to be combat ready and virtually bulletproof. And then you have costumes that are basically nothing more than spandex. Now with characters like Superman, this isn’t as big as a problem because he doesn’t need armor. But with characters like Batgirl or Catwoman, they appear to have chosen looking sexy over being able to fight.
And then there’s Powergirl. Who has a gaping hole is the chest of her suit because she can’t find anything to symbolize her or some other bullshit that they used to justify the continuous cleavage shots.
There are some attempts to give the female characters armor, like with Lady Sif, but a lot of the time theres a lot of problems with the designs. Here’s a link to an article which explains how the ‘boob plate’ armor would actually kill the wearer.
I don’t understand why every super heroine needs to fight in high heeled shoes. It’s ridiculously impractical. I mean, I can do a lot of karate moves in heels (how I found that out is a whole different story…) but it is a lot more difficult, and there’s a serious risk that the heroines could break their ankles. I get that some of the heroines like Wonder Woman aren’t constrained by the limitations of humans, but it would still be a lot easier for them to fight in flats like the boys.
Interestingly, this isn’t just restricted to super-heroines, it’s something I see a lot in police and detective shows as well. Which is odd because you’d think if your job requires running you would just wear trainers all of the time.
I do love the new designs for Wonder Woman which seems to have chosen practicality over pure sexualisation. Now all she needs is to tie her hair back properly and ditch the perfect nails and she’ll be perfect.
Let me know what you think about these costumes? Does anyone else think they’re way too impractical? Are there any points that I’ve missed?